Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I buy an Electric bike? Why buy from GreenPedals? What should I know about E-bike batteries? Factory E-bikes vs. Conversion kits? Hub Motors or Center Drives? How far do the bikes go on a single charge? Are E-bikes legal on public roads and trails? How is the extra power controlled? Do you sell through your website?

Why should I buy an electric bike?

There are a million reasons to own an electric bike, here are some:

Electric bikes encourage riding.The net result for many owners is that they end up getting more exercise than when they owned only a conventional bike.

Electric bikes are a green and inexpensive means of getting around. Energy costs are less than a penny a mile.

With an electric bike, you don’t have to worry about a ride becoming too long or too strenuous to be fun.

Electric bikes easily double the range that you can comfortably ride. Remember your geometry: twice the range equals four times the number of places you can get to.

Casual riders can now keep up with their more athletic riding partners and happily ride together.

Electric bike reduce your dependence on your car and increase your awareness of your surroundings.

Why choose to buy from Green Pedals?

Green Pedals approaches selling bikes as a service business.  It is our pleasure to help you come to the right choice when buying an e-bike.  All our bikes are available for test riding and we are situated in a safe, beautiful and easy neighborhood for this.  We like to keep up with our customers after the sale to make sure they are making the most of their bikes.

We are knowledgeable regarding all the major e-bike brands and have selected the best quality and best supported brands to carry in our shop. 

We handle repairs and warranty work on everything we sell.  Shop owner, Geoff Elliott, is a qualified bike mechanic having graduated from United Bicycle institute.  He is also well versed in circuitry and electronics.  We have in our repair shop the required adapters for computer diagnosis of Bosch, BionX and Bafang systems.

What should I know about E-bike batteries?

All of our e-bikes run on lithium ion batteries.  These batteries have three to four times the charge capacity per pound as standard lead-acid batteries.  The weight reduction allows an e-bike to feel and ride like a standard bike while providing enough electricity to go as far as 60 miles on one charge.

The life span of lithium ion batteries is also longer than the older technology batteries.  Manufacturers boast of anywhere from 800 to 2000 cycles, but life span also depends on age.  It is common for batteries to drop in charge capacity at about five years.  To ensure maximum life span, batteries should be brought to full charge every three months.

Although the packaging and charge balancing electronics vary from one manufacturer to another, the individual cells within the battery come from a relative few manufactures.  Samsung and Sony are the preferred brands.

Charging is accomplished with a small adapter that plugs into standard house current.  A full charge takes about five hours and the chargers turn themselves off once the battery is fully charged.

Since batteries account for a large portion of the cost of an e-bike, it is good to know how their capacities are evaluated.  Batteries are rated for voltage and amp hours.  The product of these two values is called watt hours and is convenient because it allows you to compare batteries of differnt voltages.  Battery capacity is relevent when considering how far you can go between charges.  It doesn't affect the torque or speed of the bike.  For that you want just plain watts, the instantaneous measuremnet of power.

Factory E-bikes vs. Conversion kits?

The Felt and eZee brand e-bikes we sell come complete from the factory. They are designed specifically and exclusively to be used as electric bikes. This extends from how they function to how they look.

We also sell and install retrofit kits from BionX and Bafang.  BionX has for many years been generally accepted as the best brand on the market. The kit includes a hub motor mounted within a rim, a lithium ion battery and the display module. Just about any bike can be retrofitted with a BionX conversion kit. This is a good choice if you have a bike that feels just right to you or if you want to motorize an unusual sort of bike like a recumbent, folding bike or cargo carrier, (we also sell those).  Unfortunately bikes with internal hub gearing can't take the BionX retrofit.  For these bikes we recommend the Bafang kit.  These motors are mounted on the bottom bracket and crank of the bike.

Hub Motors vs. Center Drives?

In recent times, the standard way to incorporate a motor into a bicycle was through the use of a hub motor.  The innermost part of a hub motor serves as the stator and is held fast in the fork of the bike.  The outer portion of the motor spins around the stator and is connected to the bike’s rim by the spokes.  Some hub motors incorporate planetary gears that reduce the speed and increase the torque of the outer portion of the hub.  This allows the motor’s rotor to spin faster creating more power.  The downside is that the fast spinning motors produce a bit more noise.  Hub motors can be installed in either the front or rear wheels.

Lately, major manufacturers like Bosch, Shimano and Panasonic have introduced center drive motors.  These are mounted to the bike’s frame and located around the pedals’ spindle.  They apply their force to the chain ring.  The main advantage here is that the power produced by the motor can be leveraged by the bike’s gearing.  This system allows for more torque at low speeds while still being able to provide substantial help when riding fast in top gear.  They can also increase range by running the motors at their most efficient rpm’s.  A final advantage is that by the additional weight of a motor being located low and in the middle of the bike, the balance of the bike remains even.

How far do the bikes go on a single charge?

Because battery capacities and riding styles vary widely, so do e-bike riding ranges.  A fit rider depending on the pedalic system of the e-bike to provide a bit of boost for acceleration and getting up hills might get 60 miles on a standard battery or 80 miles on a big one.  A heavy rider using a throttle control to drive the motor such that it is providing practically all of the power might burn through a battery in 10 or 15 miles.  Most people get around 30 miles.

Are E-bikes legal on public roads and trails?

For many years the legality of e-bikes has been vague.  Those of us supporting their use relied on a federal law which allows for the use of “low-powered electric bicycles” on public roads without any requirement of license or registration, providing that the bikes were limited to 20 mph and motors no more powerful than 750 watts.

The regulation of e-bikes, however, more properly falls to suborndinate governments: states, counties and cities. But until recently these authorities rarely had laws specifically pertaining to e-bikes.  In 2014, the state of Maryland issued a law similar to the federal one but limiting motor power to 500 watts. Information for other states can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws.

In practice, I am not aware of any instances of police stopping e-bike riders except where riders have intentionally made a nuisance of themselves to bait the police.  The simple reality is if you don't ride like a jerk, you won't have any problem.

Electric bike policies for private roads, parks and trails are issued by their own managing authorities.  Unfortunately, many of these authorities are unfamiliar with bikes and consider them similar to mopeds which typically operate under the power of loud 2 cycle gas engines, accelerate quickly and achieve higher top speeds. Mopeds do in fact offer a different type of riding experience and don’t mix in well with pedestrians and pedal bicycles. In contrast, the sound and movements of electric bikes are most often undistinguishable from conventional bikes and put little stress on the riding environment. 

How is the extra power controlled?

Power delivery is handled either directly with a twist grip throttle or by an automatic control system known as a pedelec. The pedelec determines the motor output based on pedaling speed and/or the effort (pressure put on the pedals) being supplied by the rider.  Most bikes come equipped with both options. When using a throttle, a rider can simply pedal as with any bike, rely completely on the motor, or mix it up at whatever proportions feel right at the moment. Pedelec controlled bikes are programmed to deliver power in a natural feeling way and do not require constant monitoring. In some cases, they regenerate the battery when braking or going downhill to provide greater efficiency and range. Settings are adjustable to maintain various ratios of cyclist effort compared to motor output.

Do you sell through your website?

Green-Pedals does not yet offer online sales, though if you've found something you know you'd like to purchase, contact us and we can work it out over the phone.